Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Dumpy, Dowdy and Drab!

So let me tell you how I really feel about patterns with cut on sleeves. ;-)
The Closet Case Files Charlie Caftan pattern was a fail. I made a number of adjustments but in the end, the style and overall technical design is just not for me. What looked great on Coco with her willowy figure just did not translate well to my shorter, more gnome like figure. I knew going into this it might not work out so I'm not terribly disappointed. I still have stuff to wear to the ball but I was hopeful. The pattern has found its way to the wrapping paper box.

That's not to say nothing pretty came out of the sewing salon, there were two wonderful other makes.
An Asymmetrical Tunic from Indigo Junction (complete with 3/4 length sleeves) made the journey from salon to wardrobe.

This fabric is a smooth tightly woven shirt weight cotton. It feels like silk on and was a pleasure to work with. I used the whole 3 yards pretty much on this tunic. Light enough for summer but with a sweater and the sleeves it will be a nice year round piece.

The second thing out of the sewing closet is another Webster tunic. I actually cut three of these, all sleeveless. I like this pattern a lot. It has a nice fit and the V back is cool and comfortable. It also works quite well with a sweater or a jacket on cooler days.

The pattern is thrifty. I got this out of less than 2 yards. I had used some of this fabric on other things and it was time to move it out of stash and make room for some other more garment worthy fabrics. Being darkish and busy it is the perfect type of top for working around here and this Moda cotton always washes up great. I liked the selvage edge design and saved it. May not have been the best choice, but the little color butterflies always make me kind of happy.

The Baby Wolf was brought down for some portable weaving.

fits just perfectly at the end of the table when not in use

I've had Shrek out on both decks and in the family room. I can watch TV or listen to the radio, weave and keep an eye on stuff cooking on the stove, especially when canning. Multitasking at it's most fun!

This is another batch of the Nectarine & Lime Jam.

It is so yummy and such a beautiful rose pink color when done.. Both Gene and I have picked it as our favorite so far, although the Strawberry and Lemon Preserves is high on my list too.

The sailboat is out for the summer.

The recipe comes from Food in Jars by Marissa McClellan

makes about 3 pints

5 cups pitted and chopped nectarines (about 3 lbs)
3 cups granulated sugar
Zest and juice of two limes
1 (3 oz) packet liquid pectin

combine nectarines and sugar, boil for 15-20 minutes until fruit is soft and washable with the back of a wooden spoon. I like mine chunkier, but you can use an immersion blender for a smoother texture...carefully.

add the lime juice, zest and pectin and bring to a rolling boil for  a full 5 minutes.
Remove from heat, ladle into prepared jars, 1/4 inch head space, wipe rims, apply lids and rings
and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. I have to do 20 BTW due to elevation . A perfect weaving time block!

Spinning continues on Tour de Fleece. Here is the Polworth wool all done and ready for a project.

I ended up with 415 yards. It is very soft and squishy.

And here is Songs of the River.

I'm at the end of this half, on the darker end of the scale. I will spin the second bobbin exactly the same and the plied yarn should preserve the beautiful color gradation.

Did That Just Happen?

I don't know about you but I'm wondering if Boris and Natasha and Moose and Squirrel were in that meeting with Trumpy Jr. too last June.

I shamelessly hope the Orange Cheeto will have a health crisis. I know it's not good karma, but I'm betting I am not alone. I consumed this report kind of like...popcorn, the healthy kind.

So now it is "Made in America" week. How many things does the Trump royal family have made here? Not too much.

And lastly, it's not just pipelines that threaten our national parks and native cultures. Let's talk about mining shall we?

Parting shot: Waiting in the belly rub line.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Six Hummers Humming

One of the few delights of summer for me is the hummingbirds.

 I'm on the lookout for the first one or two come April and feeders are out and ready, brought in overnight so the nectar stays warm and put out at first light in case some cold hummer coming out of a torpid state needs this life giving fluid.

Come July though, it's all about territory and acrobatics. The feeders are busy. This year has seen the numbers down. Just about six total.

 Everything is down wildlife wise actually. The property next door to us, 170 acres of lovely old and new growth was bought and clear cut. The operation ran day and night from May (how many nests were destroyed I wonder), to the beginning of July. It sickened us to see and hear it. This is not stewardship, this is snatch and grab and slash and Oregon lets them get away with it. The property is for sale again, there was an existing well and a home site approval, but it is a moonscape out there now and will be for many years to come.  Such a pity.

While summer wanes on, it is cool and shady enough for spinning on the deck in the mornings.

 I love the umbrella that is out there. Here is the last of the Polworth (it is all now plied, skeined and ready for soaking) and the start of the merino/silk Songs of the River.

 Beautiful stuff, a bit slippery after the robust Polworth. The saturated color is amazing.

In the sewing salon, a new pair of PJ's.

 Horrid pic, but the cool and soft lightweight cotton is pleasure to wear. And a Charley Harper fabric (the sleeveless Webster in the ladybug print is a C.Harper fabric), makes another appearance in a Webster Tunic, this time with sleeves.

Maritime collection fabric.

 I have another black and white tunic finished up and waiting pics. It is unusual for me to buy black fabrics, but I just fell in love with these two.

A new pattern finally arrived on Saturday.

 I already have the muslin cut out, complete with modifications recommended by Coco at Coco's Loft. I'm not a fan of cut on sleeves but it seems every year or so a pattern comes along to make me want to give it another go. We'll see!

Most weekends there has been canning of some fruit or another.

We have strawberry and lemon preserves, blueberry and maple jam and a raspberry and jalapeƱo jam. This week I'm putting up a nectarine and lime concoction. Much easier than processing peaches as nectarines don't need to be peeled, only pitted and chopped.

Did That Just Happen?
Cyber security task force with Russia? Really?! Even some of the GOP is going out and throwing shade at that idea.

And if the constant wildfire season hasn't clued you in to the real dangers of global warming, maybe this little piece will drive some points home.

Of course, changing our eating habits may help to save the planet. It certainly could help our waistlines!

On another sad and more personal note, my much loved and cherished horse trainer Bridget passed away in June at such a young age.  She taught me so much about horses in general and Cooper in particular. She instilled confidence in both of us, individually and as a team. Bridget was kind and patient with all animals and could be frank and cutting with their human counterparts. She was always their voice. Bridget will missed by many, of all species.

Parting shots: Sharing.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Tour de Fleece

For the first time I am participating in the Tour de Fleece with my Warped Weaver's group on Ravelry. This weekend I'll concentrate on finishing up the Polworth singles and getting it all plied and then it it is on to this beautiful hunk of roving.

Songs of the River. Now doesn't that just sound perfect for 23 days of July spinning? The stuff is a 60/40 blend of merino and silk. A favorite blend of mine for certain.

The colors are even more beautiful in person. Have I told you how much I love my Ashford Joy 2 wheel Amelia? We have had a quick evening date just about every night. It is likely that the Matchless DT might need a new home where he can be used and loved fully. I have the original shipping box so if someone is interested let me know.

I seem to have lost track of blogging time. You would think I was doing something important but really I'm not. I've simply been been reflecting a bit, enjoying the garden, weaving etc. and then of course last weekend into the first part of this week were the lightening strike fires to worry about. Gene was gone a good portion of Sunday evening and all day Monday as ODF (Oregon Dept. of Forestry) and the volunteer fire department scouted out and fought fires from the thunderstorms we had over the weekend. It is not quite as dry as in past years yet and the temps went from quite hot to much cooler. It all helped to keep things from raging out of control. I think Gene put up some pics of the fires being fought.

In the sewing salon, I worked on perfecting the new Cashmerette Webster pattern. Still need to bring that deep back V up just a bit more.

 I love the sleeveless version in an organic cotton  (Charley Harper ladybugs pattern), that has been in stash for a year or more and a 3/4 length sleeved version in the hot pink cotton cross weave Moda fabric. The sleeve was tweaked a bit and is a great fit now. Certainly extends the patterns usefulness, oh and side seam pockets are added in both versions.

 The cross weave fabric in a dusty grey/teal blue made it into a pair of summer pants

As much as I adore the Webster pattern, I disliked the Hot Patterns tunic pattern. The muslin and pattern are balled up and in the dog house bucket. I haven't decided yet to go back and rework it all or not. Another new pattern is on the way so more on that when it arrives.

Lastly this sleeveless modified crossover top has been in my head for a little while.

 Just a hint of gathering on the lower front under the bodice, a bit of handwoven inkle band.

 A nice easy summer top.

On Monday, while Gene was uber busy with fires, I abandoned ship and met with friend Cindie. I had a fair amount of bamboo cones from my Dad's stash that I knew I would never use. I much prefer working with cotton, hemp, silk and linen, even a bit of wool to bamboo and tencel. Cindie surprised me with a bag of linen. Some fun stuff here.

I'm plotting and planning you can be sure with the new gift booty! Thank you Cindie!

And then there was the fabric shopping at Top Stitch, who's real goal is to sell beautiful Bernina sewing
machines. They do have a wonderful cotton quilting fabric selection and it was the annual sidewalk sale. Need I say more? These followed me home.

 Woman does not live by Etsy alone and going to an actual fabric store was a treat. It was then onto lunch and Trader Joe's and home. Gene still had not made it home and the dogs, left to their own devices, can get up to much mischief if left alone too long.

This happens by the fence line too. We must be watchful.

It may look innocent enough but it is not!

Did That Just Happen?

This, this god awful WTF moment that seems to happen all too often in so many different ways. Seriously, not only do we have a mental health problem exploding in the USA, we have a gun problem.
There is some point in which we need to stop this madness. One only needs to look at gun deaths in other countries in which owning a gun is a privilege, not a right, to realize we have this one so very wrong.

Another pesky problem, the sad, sick old white guy in the oval office. Richard Wolffe is a smart, savvy
opinion writer for The Guardian.

The steady drip drip of the Russian investigation is just about a steady stream isn't it?. The WSJ has a couple of good pieces with Shane Harris as the lead. I don't have access to the WSJ any longer but here is the gist of it from The Hill.

And then of course, the voter fraud BS, which makes me think all our data will be given over to Russia so they can manipulate the bloated orange one into a second term. I hope Oregon makes that list of refusals PDQ.

Lets end with something lovely shall we? Wildlife pics, so beautiful, why must we destroy so much around us? I have no answers.

Parting shot: Scratch Please!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Little Garden of Earthly Delights

My little garden is such a happy place right now! It is home to a few garden snakes, a little tree frog here and there, a toad and of course the birds that flit and twitter about the maple tree and splash around in the bird bath.

 The Buddha reigns peacefully over it all and truly does lend a sense of peace and wellness to the place.

Inside the happiness continues.

 A couple of months ago I ordered a second standing inkle loom from To Ply Fiber Arts. Debbie does amazing decorative woodwork on her looms and I had asked if she could do hummingbirds.

It took a little while to work out a pattern and then I decided I wanted light and dark woods, something a little different. This beauty is what arrived last Thursday.

I had her warped and weaving on Friday. She's the downstairs inkle, within easy travel distance of the TV chair. ;-)

A new warp is FINALLY being wound for Nick the Macomber. Hemp and linen bath towels in natural, bleached and bright lime green! Fun stuff.

The pillowcase warp weaves on, this one will have the wide hem in blue with the body of the case in the natural.

 All these cases will be natural with different colored hems. The Henry's 10/2 is very soft and should be lovely.

Some really new patterns have hit the sewing room. I haven't ordered a Hot Patterns pattern in forever.
Nothing appealed enough to me and I have had a hate love relationship with this pattern company. When they work they are great, when they don't it's a fitting nightmare. But I liked this retro pattern enough to give it a go.

 I love a raglan sleeve and the details could be awfully fun in the right fabric. A muslin is cut and waiting.

The second pattern to hit the market is this Cashmerette pattern.

 This is my first foray with this pattern company. I not only muslined this up but I got it sewn too.

Since I was doing a muslin I decided to go the whole enchilada and add a sleeve too. It will extend the pattern use for me a lot. It worked up beautifully, the facing fit like a glove, the instructions are great and hey ladies, they have cup sizing for C right through H and sizes 12-28. Nice huh? It needs a bit of tweaking but I'm going to enjoy this pattern a lot I think.

Besides the above test run tunic, a lovely pale yellow linen top and new black linen pants made the leap from sewing basket to closet.

 I drafted this top a little differently when I had it on the sewing table, giving it just a touch of needed shaping.

Lastly, some pretty fabrics hit the sewing salon.

These are all Moda Crossweave cotton and they are super to work with. I have 3 yards of each of these colors just waiting to become something beautiful.

Did That Just Happen?

Such a horrible week we just went through, where to start? Maybe we should all just reflect on the loss of life this week around the globe? sigh....

Lets go with a story that hasn't gotten much coverage but may have a huge impact for everyone who takes civil rights for granted.

And hooray for Oregon for leading the way on the gender front.

Finally, this fun piece about the Taronga Zoo. Enjoy!

Parting shot: Play Day! These girls play rough and loud.